Getting Through The Holidays


The older we get, the faster life seems to go. It often feels like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done and most of us feel exhausted and drained at the end of the day. With the holiday season here, stress levels are on the increase and our energy levels deplete even faster. The good news is that changing some habits can help you feel better, both physically and mentally. Here are some things that can help you:

Fuel Up with the Right Food
Fill your plate with protein, whole grains, and complex carbohydrates. Most importantly, make sure every meal has some protein, which will keep your blood sugar and energy levels steadier throughout the day. For some, eating six small meals during the day is best, while others may feel better having three larger meals. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you include healthy, whole grain, fresh foods.

Get Enough Sleep
To figure out how much sleep your body needs, try this exercise. Go to sleep one day at your regular time and do not set your alarm. Do this on a day that you have no pressure to wake up by a certain time. Usually your body will wake up naturally and feel rested at the time it needs to (waking up in the middle of the night does not count though). Once you see what time you naturally wake up, calculate how many hours of sleep you got, then try to shoot for that number of hours of sleep every day. Ensuring that you get the right amount of sleep will improve your energy levels dramatically, so you no longer feel like you are barely able to get through the day.

Avoid Multi-tasking
Parents are experts at multi-tasking, so it makes sense that we are prone to becoming more worn out. To help you stop spreading yourself too thin, plan ahead. And as hard as it is, try to strictly focus on the task at hand, one at a time. Not only will this prevent you from burning out your energy too quickly, but whatever it is you are doing will turn out better.

Practice Mindfulness
Staying present does wonders for your energy levels. How many times have you been with your kids, family, friends, or in an exercise class thinking of the million things you have to do? Making dinner and responding to text messages at the same time? Trying to help your kids with homework while confirming appointments for next day? This is how we get drained physically and emotionally. Everyday, make it a habit to stay focused and in the moment with what you are trying to accomplish. Eventually, it will become second nature.

I will never get tired of writing about exercise and its health benefits. For those who are not exercise fanatics, start by walking and just see how much it improves your energy levels. Start with 20 minutes, then work up to more, or as I like to call it, “snack exercise”, throughout the day. This is where you take 10 or even just five minutes at different times throughout the day to either walk, do squats, or do some push ups. This immediately gets your blood flowing and boosts your energy.

With these tips in mind, you will be better prepared to survive the pressures and busy schedules thorughout the holiday season. That way, you can focus more on living in the moment and enjoying the best things about this time of year.

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Esteban Villanueva